Windsor-bound firm seeks big bucks bagging wine barrels for BBQ WINDSOR -- A year after starting in a small northwest Santa Rosa shop, WineWood Products is expanding to a much larger facility in Windsor in anticipation of orders of its bags of barbecue smoke chips made from wine-soaked oak barrels.
Owner David Vogl, a 68-year-old retired Air Force fighter pilot and wing commander and former recycling entrepreneur, eventually wants to have 20 to 30 people, hopefully many military veterans, working in the 17,800-square-foot Windsor plant, but first he has to be ready with enough products for the start of barbecuing season this spring.
[caption id="attachment_17905" align="alignleft" width="108" caption="David Vogl"][/caption]
"It's a terrible time to start a business right now, but if I can hang on for another three months until we get orders fulfilled," Mr. Vogl said.
One retail group with 3,000 stores is interested in buying a large order of chips. Fulfilling that order would allow production to ramp up to supply larger retailers such as grocery stores.
WineWood started in February 2009 and in the past few months has accumulated enough raw materials to enter full production of the chips as well as produce barrel-stave flooring and furniture.
[caption id="attachment_17906" align="alignright" width="216" caption="WineWood has begun production of barbecue smoke chips and barrel-stave flooring."][/caption]
The company buys barrels from wineries after three to five uses in making red and white wines and fashions the staves into flooring and furniture.
The company also picks up scrap wood that otherwise would be waste. Scrap redwood from fencing companies also is picked up.
Barbecue chips will have an estimated retail price of $10 per 3-pound bag. The chips can be soaked in water and placed over white-hot coals to transfer wine flavor to the grilled food.
A partner company in the Sacramento area has a patented process for straightening the wood staves that coopers had curved to make barrels. To make flooring, WineWood's current staff of five people hand-sands the staves so their narrow-to-thick-to-narrow widths form a seamless surface.
Eventually, Mr. Vogl plans to acquire sawdust to make combustible pellets. In this way, he hopes to recycle all materials used in products.
Rhonda Deringer of Keegan & Coppin/Oncor International represented WineWood Products in the lease deal, signed Dec. 23. Jim Sartain and Shawn Johnson also of Keegan & Coppin represented building owner Shiloh Oaks Co. LLC.
For more information, call 707-843-4386 or visit www.winewoodproducts.com.
CORRECTION, Feb. 3, 2010: WineWood Products purchases used barrels but picks up scrap wood, including redwood fencing, to make its products. Incorrect information was provided for the original story.